Last year, I decided it was time to say goodbye to console gaming and upgrade to PC. The problem was I knew nothing about computers. Thankfully I had friends and cousins who helped guide me through the process and after months of researching, going through Craigslist and Newegg, and a couple of birthday presents, I finally got all the pieces and built it over this spring break.
Note: There’s a spreadsheet in the picture section that goes over prices. Anything with a “0” was a gift and the rest were purchased from Newegg, Craigslist, Amazon, EBay, or a friend.
My budget was about $1000 for the computer. I knew that I wanted something that would be aesthetically appealing and clean so I went with the Corsair 350d because you can’t go wrong with black. Originally I didn't care about how the inside looked like, but as I kept delving deeper into the computer world and looking at other builds, I couldn't help myself (planning on getting a windowed side panel). I went with a black and gold theme, which I felt came out alright. Putting it together was a lot of fun and I had my cousin who works for Intel and other cousins help me. The motherboard I bought was originally intended for the i7-4700k to overclock, but there was a mix up and my cousin ordered me the i7-4700 by mistake. However, since he gave it to me for free I'm definitely not complaining and am extremely grateful for his generosity.
For the GPU, I was originally going to go with a GTX 760, but after I sold my xbox and games, I was able to increase my budget and went with the EVGA SC w/ ACX Cooling GTX 770 2GB. I mostly play Dota 2 and COD4, but planning to get BF4 very soon, which is the main reason I went for a 770 because I wanted relatively good FPS on a 1080p monitor. I’m really happy with this GPU because it comes with ShadowPlay, which I originally didn’t know about. I found it to be extremely fun to stream and record due to its ease.
Wiring was a little tough because the cables were kind of stiff and since it was not modular I had extra cables that I had some difficulty tucking away. I did my best in terms of cable management and considering it was my first time, I'm satisfied. The PSU is a tad loud, but it was a gift from a friend who had it just laying around so not complaining too much. In the future, I plan to upgrade the PSU to, possibly the Corsair RM750 because it is modular, the all black cables will look better, and I heard it will be quieter. The hardest part was wiring the SSD because I moved it down to one of the hard drive slots due to the removable of the SSD cage to increase air flow. Speaking of air flow, there are 5 fans installed in the case. The guy I bought it from installed two 140mms in the front and top and the regular 120mm in the back. Unfortunately, my motherboard does not support the usage of all the fans as it only can use one intake and one exhaust. I ordered a fan splitter so that I can utilize both front fans. As for the top fans, they’ll stay unconnected, but I plan to possibly get a Corsair H100i later for better cooling and aesthetic appeal. I'm also planning to get a top dust filter since it's a common problem with the Corsair 350d from what I've read.
One of the big things that I knew I wanted was to "stealth" mod the optical drive. If you look at other builds of Corsair 350ds with cd drives, the front is rather odd looking because the cd drive will take away from the clean black front finish, which I knew I wanted to keep. So we took out one of the front slot covers, cut off the edges, sanded it down, popped off the front cover of the cd drive, and then used double sided tape to attach the cover to the cd drive. A downside is that you have to open the drive manual through the computer, but for me that isn't a terrible inconvenience since it only takes like a couple extra clicks and I’m willing to sacrifice a few extra seconds for long term aesthetics.
In summary, I'm really happy about how this build came out and I hope to maybe do a few upgrades as time goes on. I would like to thank everybody who helped me out in this build whether it be giving me parts, helping build it, or just providing information and advice. Without you, this wouldn't be possible.